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How is Othello presented in Act 1.

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How is Othello presented in Act 1 Othello is presented generally positively with some negative characteristics in Act 1. Before we meet Othello in scenes two and three, we hear Iago and Roderigo talking about him, although he is never referred to as 'Othello' but by such names such as 'The Moor' and 'Thick lips' which take away his identity creating a false image of the man we meet in the rest of Act 1. In scene one, Iago and Roderigo talk about Othello in an unfavourable way, naming him as 'an old black ram'. Iago uses animal imagery when referring to Othello, he makes use of Othello's skin colour and the fact that he is different to the 'white Venetians' to make a link between black and evil. He provokes Desdemona's father, Brabantio, by conjuring up graphic animal images of Othello and Desdemona to make Brabantio angry with Othello. All this negativity gives us a very different view of Othello from the next two scenes. It is clear however that some Iago's comments are based on his jealousy of Othello as well as the man Othello gave the Lieutenant's job to, Michael Cassio, 'And what was he? Forsooth, for great arithmetician, One Michael Cassio, a Florentine-' Iago is extremely jealous of Cassio, as he expected Othello to make him his lieutenant, not Cassio as they had been friends for a long time and Iago had fought with him in battles. ...read more.


After Othello presents his case to the Senate, the Duke takes Othello's side and the rest of the Senate follow him, but it is clear that Othello is different from the white Venetian's, so is not fully accepted. Brabantio accepts Othello until he finds out he has married Desdemona. The first thing that we hear about Iago's relationship with Othello is that he hates him, 'Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.' This gives the audience a negative impression of Othello, as he must not be a very good person if someone hates him that much. Iago goes onto degrade Othello's character by not calling him by his name but as demeaning names such as 'lascivious Moor' and others suggesting animal imagery like 'Barbary Horse'. Iago refers to Othello's race only, which takes away his individuality as a person. Iago provokes Brabantio by telling him graphic stories about Othello and Desdemona. No father wants to hear about their daughter like that so it is obvious by telling Brabantio it is going to get him angry at Othello, which is what Iago wants as it will help in his plan to destroy Othello. This creates a negative view of Othello, but also somewhat makes the audience feel sorry for him as Iago is in the process of demolishing his reputation as a good person. ...read more.


This gives the audience an overall positive view of Othello. Othello's speech is different at the beginning of the play than at the end, in Act 5 scene two. At the end of the play, Othello is not himself anymore, he is no longer the calm and collected eloquently speaking valiant Moor. He is the cowardly, fragmented, uncivilised barbarian that Iago describes in the very first scene. This shows Othello to be the false image created by Iago, not what we know of him from his own actions throughout the play, he is not his real self. Despite Iago's attempts to present Othello in a very negative way, once we meet Othello it is extremely hard to view him in the same way as Iago does. Othello has no soliloquies Act 1, but does later in the play when he becomes evil, which shows us he used to be a very open person and therefore what we see is what we get with Othello, nevertheless as we get to the end of the play he becomes more and more like our very first impression of him. The presentation Shakespeare gives of a hero with black skin allows the audience to challenge their own predisposition to judge on appearances by exploring the theme of appearance versus reality. ...read more.

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